For sale: The CSIR is selling business licences for cool tech products - including an anti-landmine boot and a cheap ultrasound machine

Business Insider SA
CSIR offices in Cape Town. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
  • The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has more than 30 technologies it is looking to licence.
  • The council, which has more 2,000 staff members, is the largest research council on the continent.
  • These technologies range from a low-cost ultrasound machine for primary healthcare to armour plating that defends vehicles against warheads.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is looking for industry partners to commercialise its technologies. In a new strategy, the council aims to “amplify the ‘I’ in CSIR”, board chairperson Thokozani Majozi said last month.

As part of this, the council is offering up some of its technologies for licensing.

The 74-year-old council is the largest on the continent, with more than 2,000 employees and an annual income of about R2.5-billion. “The vision behind this initiative was to broaden the scope of growth opportunities for the organisation by deepening its relationships with industry in a manner that fosters industrial development,” Majozi said.

Technologies include:

Umbiflow is a medical device that measures the resistance index (RI) in the umbilical cord of a foetus.
  • An anti-landmine boot, which “protects the wearer’s foot against the effects of a landmine explosion by managing the shock wave in the first instance and managing the blast within the sole of the boot as a secondary mechanism”, while still allowing the wearer to move their foot.

The new strategy comes as the council completes a restructuring process that saw many of its staff retrenched and a number of units closed. The CSIR has yet to confirm the number.

The council now has nine clusters: NextGen Health, which aims to develop the local healthcare industry; Advanced Agriculture and Food; Future Production: Chemicals; Future Production: Manufacturing; Future Production: Mining; Defence and Security; Smart Places, which focuses on resource usage, energy, water, climate change and the environment; NextGen Enterprises and Institutions, which centres on digital technologies; and Smart Logistics.

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